Partially Leucistic Javan Mynas

posted in: Morphology-Develop. | 1

“Two partially leucistic Javan Mynas were encountered on separate occasions and at different locations.

“The first leucistic bird, with less whites, was found foraging with a few other normal mynas on a sloping field next to a pedestrian walkway in the midst of an urban environment in Pasir Ris in January 2012 (above). Except for its head and wings, this myna looked greyish due to the sparse white feathers scattered over its normal black plumage. Its head appeared normal except for an obvious tuft of white feathers above its upper mandible and small patches of whites encircling around its eyes. It was probably part of a pair with a normal myna as suggested by their reaction. The pair flew off together after the normal myna gave out a call. The other mynas did not react as they continued to forage.

“The second leucistic bird had comparatively more whites than the first (above). It was found with a flock of Javan Mynas and Spotted Doves (Streptopelia chinensis) that were feeding on a packet of rice left in a field at Lorong Halus Wetlands in June 2012. This bird had an interesting plumage of black and white. The whites were prominently seen on its primaries, nape and crown. Its underparts were less whitish with some subtle streaks. Parts of its face and forehead were black. It looked comical when facing directly away (back view) as it would appear that it was wearing a black headphone that contrasted with its white crown (above right). Upon closer examination of its side view, a red-coloured ear patch could be vaguely seen (below left).

“I had initially thought that it was some foreign matter that had gotten stuck on its plumage. However, after checking through all the images of this bird, I can positively conclude that these ear patches were part of its plumage. Yes, ear patches (plural) as these can be seen on both sides of its head. And for assurance that they were not dust specks captured by my camera, these ear patches had appeared consistently in the same exact position of the myna in all images captured. As for social behaviour, although this second leucistic myna was seen with the other mynas, it seemed to be a loner. After the others flew off, it continued to feed alone.

(The image above-right shows the leucistic Javan Myna B with a normal myna on its right.)

Kwong Wai Chong
27th August 2012

  1. Michael Seow

    Hi. I have spotted a leucistic mynah over the last few days along Havelock Road (around the Copthorne Riverside Hotel). Its markings are very distinctly black, and white, and it was with a flock of other mynahs which seemed to have accepted its presence.

    Also, I seem to be seeing a much smaller species (?) of mynahs in Singapore lately. Initially, I thought these were juveniles, but after further observation, I realised tha they were fully fledged adults that were at least 15% smaller than their normal relatives.

    Have there been similar sightings?



    Michael Seow (966884346)

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